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RECAP[1] is software which allows users to automatically search for free copies during a search in the fee-based online law database PACER, and to help building up a free alternative database at the Internet Archive.[2] It was created in 2009 by a team from Princeton University and Harvard University's Berkman Center[1]

RECAP is a Firefox extension which for each PACER document first checks if it has already been uploaded by another user to the Internet Archive; if no free version exists and the user purchases the document from PACER, it will automatically upload a copy to the Internet Archive.[2]

The RECAP team uploaded 2.7 million documents Aaron Swartz had downloaded from PACER. These represented less than 1 percent of the documents in PACER.[3]

PACER continued charging per page fees after the introduction of RECAP.[4]

Some courts such as the District Court for the District of Massachusetts have explicitly stated that "fee exempt PACER users must refrain from the use of RECAP".[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Center for Information Technology Policy (2013). "Home". RECAP The Law. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  2. ^ a b Johnson, Bobbie (11 November 2009). "Recap: cracking open US courtrooms". The Guardian (London). 
  3. ^ Lee, Timothy B. (2013-02-08). "The inside story of Aaron Swartz’s campaign to liberate court filings". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2013-05-31. 
  4. ^ Singel, Ryan (October 5, 2009). "FBI Investigated Coder for Liberating Paywalled Court Records". Wired (Condé Nast). Retrieved January 12, 2013. 
  5. ^ "CM/ECF - USDC Massachusetts - Version 5.1.1 as of 12/5/2011-United States District Court".